Technical Report: RT-114: Strategic Planning for Science and Technology Portfolio

Report Number: Technical Report SERC-2015-TR-106

Report Name: RT-114: Strategic Planning for Science and Technology Portfolio

Publication Date: October 15, 2015


The STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR S&T PORTFOLIOS project, a project of the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC), was a one-year project that sought to understand best practices for how the Department of Defense (DoD) was managing S&T portfolios and to transition this knowledge to improve the process by developing curriculum material for the Defense Acquisition University. Technology development is the foundation for the DoD materiel acquisition process. Organizations responsible for this development include DoD laboratories and organizations such as the Army Research Development and Engineering Centers and the Navy Warfare Centers. To maximize their contribution for the warfighting mission, and to most efficiently use resources, Science and Technology (S&T) managers in these organizations must capitalize on effective strategic planning to prioritize technology areas. Within these areas, S&T managers must also develop and manage S&T portfolios to ensure the required technologies are matured for seamless transition to programs of records or directly to the warfighter.
Portfolio management is a challenge for an organization as distributed as the Department of Defense
because portfolio management works best when there is a senior leader or leadership team with the decision making capacity to oversee many research portfolios and chose those that support the organization’s strategy and cancel those that do not. The best strategy driven portfolio will balance near term and long-term needs. Instead of a portfolio management approach, DoD’s stove-piped governance structure where each service generally sets its own priorities is an impediment to using an integrated portfolio management approach. Numerous interviews were conducted to find the best practices in DoD organizations that focused on R&D portfolios. The results of the project were over 100 Powerpoint slides, 4 detailed case studies, and numerous shorter case studies. This material will be used in a 3 ½ day course taught by DAU starting in Fall of 2015. The materials were developed collaboratively with DAU professors and was tested, reviewed, and refined in an instructor pilot in May 2015 and two student pilots in June and July. The task specifically supported course development for the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). The pedagogy included case study review, method development lessons, and group exercises through a four day course curriculum. Material was provided via literature and survey review for identified key skill areas. The coursework instruction material is provided in the subsequent attachment and will be revised under DAU supervision.